College of William & Mary
BackgroundInterview Date:August 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2018
High School Experience: Private school in Baltimore with about 100 students in my class
Major: Kinesiology & Health Sciences
Minor: Public Health
Extracurricular Activities: I was a varsity athlete and that pretty much took up most of my time.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
Most of it was recommended reading, so it wasn’t necessarily required. But, we had required online problem sets and then written coursework to turn in. The biggest grades were around 20%-30% were tests. Everything was mostly test-oriented.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
What they did really well was providing outside help. Each class I took each professor stayed after class and they’d book the classroom for extra review sessions. I didn’t find anything I was dissatisfied with my major or major department.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s a little bit of both. At William & Mary, you find kids that are very intelligent, but I think it’s a good kind of competitiveness. People were also there to help you. We had student TA’s and people always worked in groups for science studying. So, they were very welcoming and open to studying with you or helping you with things that you didn’t understand.
What was your favorite class in your major?
Anatomy and Physiology. Anatomy had a lab to it, and we’re one of the few institutions that have a cadaver lab. So, in conjunction with the lecture, we were able to see literally what we were learning in the cadaver lab with real human bodies, which I thought was really cool to see.
What was your least favorite class in your major?
Health-Related Prescription Exercise, just because I thought that was especially difficult. I didn’t enjoy exercise science.
Why did you choose your major?
I came in knowing I wanted to do a science major and so freshman year I took Intro to Biology and it’s notorious for being one of the hardest intro classes, so that kind of deterred me from majoring in biology. Then the next thing was Kinesiology and a few of my teammates who had graduated had taken it, so I kind of followed in their footsteps. I’m happy with my choice.
How was managing your sport and your coursework?
That was an adjustment. I thought I knew how to do it because I did it in high school and in middle school, so I’ve been doing it for many years. But when you actually get there, college is a completely different environment. It was an adjustment at the beginning, but each semester I found myself getting better and better, so I think it’s just a learning curve.
On and Around Campus
Can you describe the level of safety you experienced on and around campus?
Williamsburg is a small and quaint town, so safety wasn’t really an issue. But every now and then you get the robbery, but nothing too big.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Craft 31. It’s like an oyster house-burger place with craft beer.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
A lot of us when it’s nice out or even when it wasn’t would go to College Creek, which is basically our equivalent to the beach but it’s on the James River. It’s just like a 10-15-minute drive up Colonial Parkway. There are some sandy places where people would lay down and tan, or if it’s raining you would just go and park there and sit. A lot of us would do that just to get away from campus.
Pros and Cons of being in Williamsburg, VA?
Pros: (1) It’s safe.
(2) It’s easy to navigate around just because everything is so close and it’s not very big.
(3) This is pertaining to me, but the proximity to where I lived in Baltimore. My parents could easily come down for a game and drive home in a day.
Cons: (1) You don’t really meet that many people. You’re just meeting people at William & Mary. Rarely did people visit from other colleges or schools. It just kind of felt like we were isolated.
(2) It’s kind of the same thing happening every night in town. I thought the nightlife was good but you go to the same bars and there’s not a whole lot of diversity when it comes to nightlife.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Being on a team, you’re limited to when you can go out and when you can do other things. Mostly I went out in the fall when I wasn’t in season. I could go out Friday and Saturday night then. In season, I went out probably one Friday a month. It was plenty, but not the same degree I’m sure other students can do.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
Freshman year there were usually either house parties or fraternity parties. We would start at an older teammate’s house with the whole team. It’s a small campus so you can walk everywhere. Then we would walk to the frat or to an off-campus that’s close by. Frats are usually only on campus. Then usually the freshmen go home, but as you get older you can go to the bars after the parties.
What have been your favorite days or nights at William & Mary?
My favorite days were in the fall because the spring is just hectic with sports and stuff. In the fall you started early, so you’d have lift, and then you’d have classes at 8, 9 or 10, and then you’d be done at like 10:15, so I’d have the whole afternoon to just chill and then we would go back to practice for like an hour and a half. I think starting early and then having the day would be the best days of the week.
Then Friday nights that were the best were in the fall. We’d have a party as a team and then go to a men’s team’s house, like baseball or football.
How happy were you with the nightlife at William & Mary? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I guess it depends on the person, but I wasn’t a huge proponent of going to a huge school with huge parties. I think downscaling it to something smaller and more intimate was more up my alley. I’m not one who wants to go out like five nights a week. So just one night or two nights a week was plenty for me. And we had fun when we were able to go out. I was satisfied for sure.
How did you meet your closest friends?
They are the girls on my team. I met them on my unofficial visit when I was a senior in high school, so from then you just have to be friends and they turned out to be great. My friends outside of lacrosse I met from other teams or from classes I was in. I didn’t really click with my hall mates or my roommate.
What is the impact of Greek life on social life?
I think it’s a pretty good chunk of social life. A few of my teammates were part of it, but I didn’t participate. I think it has a bigger impact on underclassmen just because they’re already on campus and it’s easy to walk right over to a frat house on Friday night for freshmen and sophomores. Then once you get older it’s not necessarily the place to go if you want to go out or something. I think a large amount of the student body is involved in Greek life, but I wasn’t. [About 32% of students are involved in Greek life.]
How would you describe the social scene?
The social scene was good. It wasn’t anything crazy but it was a sufficient amount. I’d say it wasn’t boring. Some nights you had nothing going on, but then you’d just go to bars later.
Do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Yes, William & Mary is a very liberal school, so they are extremely inclusive. People of all different backgrounds were friends and inclusive of each other.
How would you describe the student body?
I would say diverse. Everyone I came in contact with was very happy and very nice. I know our school has the reputation of being very hard and [has a history of suicide]. I think that has something to say about the school, but every school is going to be hard. Because people at William and Mary are so hardworking, I think our school has a reputation of being very difficult and not a very happy environment. But, when I was there I didn’t see much of that. [About 58% of students are White, 9% are Hispanic, 7% are Black, and 7.5% are Asian.]
Do you think people are happy with their choice of William and Mary by senior year?
Yeah, I think so. I think where you wouldn’t find that would be after freshman year, especially with girls on my team. I think it was kind of a culture shock the very first year they got there. A lot of girls came from New York City and California and didn’t like being in a small town where [there isn’t a strong party scene]. Once you settle in and figure out what William & Mary is and what it can do for you, then your sophomore, junior, and senior year kind of go by a little bit better. I think by senior year you have figured it out and you’re more satisfied.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
They’ve given me guidance. A lot of my teammates who went the science route have guided me as to what I should be doing afterwards because I eventually want to go back to grad school. So, I’ve been talking to them.
Have you used the career office much?
I think as a science major I didn’t use it as often as I probably should have. On my team, it’s either you’re a science major or a business major. For the business side of things, I think they used the career center ten times more than I did. I’ve heard great things but I didn’t find it particularly helpful on my side of things.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something that a student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The camaraderie. I think a lot of the heart of the school comes from the student body and is what William & Mary really means.
Reasons to attend William & Mary:
1) It has great, rigorous academics. It’s a top tier school.
2) The student body is a diverse population that is going to challenge you and pull you in different directions.
3) I think because it’s a safe school, I think parents will be more at ease.
Reasons to not attend William & Mary:
If you’re someone who needs a bigger school or a bigger nightlife then the school is definitely not for you.